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History of Cuenca Ecuador

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Cuenca's story begins long before the arrival of the Spanish, or even the Inca. The city was originally a Cañari settlement called Guapondeleg and is believed to have been founded around 500 AD Guapondeleg translates into "land as big as heaven."

Ecuador, Cuenca city, Rio Tomebamba

The Incas

Less than half a century before the conquistadors landed, the Inca, after a bitter struggle, conquered the Cañari and occupied Guapondeleg and the surrounding area. Though the Inca replaced the Cañari architecture with their own, they did not exclude the Cañari or their impressive achievements in astronomy and agriculture. These, as was customary for the Inca, they absorbed into their culture. Shortly after the defeat of the Cañari, the Inca commander, Tupac Yupanqui, ordered the construction of a grand city - Pumapungo, "the door of the Puma" - whose magnificence was to challenge that of the Inca capital of Cuzco.

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